A look at Event Tracking in Google Analytics

As part of a wider project we’ve been helping an international charity connect its web strategy to its organisational strategy. Stuff we’ve done includes:

  • advising on how a website’s performance could be measured
  • setting up the website and Google Analytics (‘GA’) so the site’s performance can be measured
  • producing the first set of measures, so that the charity knows how well it’s doing online, and has a baseline against which to assess future improvement


Within this we’ve been helping the charity get answers to questions such as:

  • What percentage of job seekers visiting our website actually complete the online job-application process?
  • What proportion of people trying to make donations through the website succeed?
  • How often do people download whitepapers, and other PDF documents, and which ones are most popular?
  • How often do people send an email to the charity via one of the ’email us’ links on the site?
  • How many people go directly from the website to the FaceBook and Twitter pages?

Google’s free Analytics tool, Google Analytics (‘GA’) can provide the answers to these sorts of questions and many more, but first it has to be set up. This post is the first of two that explaining how to track and get the data for two kinds of ‘conversions’.

So what’s a ‘conversion’?

A ‘conversion’ is when a visitor to your website does something that you want them to do. We’re going to look at:

  1. Event tracking: tells you when someone has clicked on a ‘Call to Action’ link. For example ‘click here to email us’, ‘click here to download a PDF’, ‘click here to view the price list’, ‘click here to visit our Facebook fan-page’, ‘click here to see our latest jobs’.
  2. Destination page tracking: tells you when someone gets to a significant page on the site, such as a ‘thank-you’ page after they’ve completed a purchase, applied for a job, or signed up to an e-newsletter.

Event tracking with Google Analytics

This is much easier than you might be led to believe by the documentation, tho’ it helps if you have basic knowledge of how links are coded in HTML. So, assuming that you know “find us on Facebook” can be made into find us on Facebook with the following bit of code:

<a href=”http://facebook.com/nedwells” target=”_self”>find us on Facebook</a>

…you might be surprised to know that Google Analytics will tell you how many people clicked on the link and (in this example) visited your facebook page, if you just drop this into the code:

onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Social’, ‘Visits’, ‘Facebook’]);”

So you end up with this:

<a href=”http://www.facebook.com/nedwells” onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Social’, ‘Visits’, ‘FaceBook’]);”>Find us on Facebook.</a>

Why don’t you give it a go? Get back to me if you need any help…

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